6th Annual Trip

For our 6th annual trip with the Maurer family, we spent the weekend in Kansas City.  We are nearing (if we haven’t already reached it) the point when we will need to do some repeat locations, but this year was a new spot for us again.  We all enjoy spending time together and it’s been such a special treat to watch our children grow up together.

We usually spend a fair amount of time at the hotel just talking and playing.  We also all like parks and legos, so we fit in both of those activities this year.  A hike is often on all of our lists to do, but it was way too hot to spend much time outside that weekend.  We spent Friday night grabbing dinner out and playing at the hotel, Saturday out and about and Sunday back at the hotel before going our separate ways.

Here are some shots from around the hotel, including a few selfies the kids took (as requested) from their explorations around the hotel on their own.  Favorite memories include watching various plays of Piggie and Gerald books, watching all the kids try to catch the football with their elbows, sending messages/emojis/pictures with Ellie (mostly Mike and Ellie/Adam), and how sweet those girls are to my boys who want to show them their paint-by-sticker books and Legos.  Lots and lots of laughter!

Mute the video if you don’t want to hear my crazy loud laugh:

Pics from our dinners out:

Pics from the park, Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium:

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.  The kids hugged too quickly, so we missed any cute pics of that…but I snapped a couple of Mikey saying goodbye to some of his favorite girls!  We parents left exhausted, having stayed up until midnight or WAY later both evenings we had together.  We sure enjoyed spending time with this crew again!

Quick throwback of our group from just last summer and a link to all the previous years:

 

CA Road Trip, Pt 4: Lake Tahoe

By Saturday morning, we were ready to leave Yosemite.  The crowds really increased by then!  We drove about 6 hours to get to Lake Tahoe, although I think there may have been a shorter route.  In fact, we had told the boys that it would be about 3.5 hours.  Here’s how you know your kiddos like road trips…they didn’t even notice that we nearly doubled the trip.  They were more concerned with whether or not we’d finish another book before we arrived. =)  So much fun!

Anyway, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous.  We absolutely loved seeing mountains and a huge lake together.  It was a good mix of the two things Mikey and I love the most in our landscapes – water and mountains.  We celebrated our 12-year anniversary here with some tasty sushi and lots of time on the water.

One day all three guys spent many hours on our stand-up paddle board.  I spent most of that time reading “The Help” – a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and happened to be at the airbnb where we stayed.  They LOVED it!

The following day we spent the day on a motor boat.  We saw some marked differences in the boys – Ethan likes to take it slow and steady; Micah wants to go as fast as possible.  Both boys enjoyed driving the boat, under great supervision from Mikey.  They both attempted to go tubing, but ended up in the water before even getting a ride.  We lost one Dodger hat to the water and almost lost the other one.  All in all, though, we had a super lovely day.  Ethan later decided he not only has a fear of heights, he has a fear of depths (this has a technical name: thalassophobia).  The deep water of Lake Tahoe was enough to give some bad dreams, but we all still look back on this part of the trip with a lot of fondness!  We’d LOVE to go back again sometime!

And just when we started missing home, it was time to head that way.  We took two days to drive home – stopping in Salt Lake City for the overnight.  We enjoyed seeing one of the Olympic parks the following morning and then were thrilled to get back home again.

The fabulous road trip of Summer 2018 was a great success!!

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.

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Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

CA Road Trip, Pt 2: Sequoia National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed to Sequoia National Park until Wednesday.  This part of the world is so beautiful and unlike any other place we’ve been. We were in awe of the huge trees and enjoyed some lovely hikes in the area.  Pictures tell more about the experience than words can, but pictures do not do it justice.

Moro Rock Trail was incredible.  Some of us went further on the hike than others of us, thus more pictures of said somebodies. =)

Here are some more shots from Sequoia, including a super lovely hike we did to a waterfall.

Before moving onward to Yosemite, we explored a bit of Kings Canyon National Park.  You really can’t grasp how large these trees are unless you walk among them.  They are so out-of-this-world.

We especially enjoyed the views, teeny hike and snack at Panoramic Point:

Up Next: After Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno to prepare for our camping adventure in Yosemite.

California ROAD Trip

I LOVE road trips.  I just do.  So when we learned about the Cleveland reunion happening in southern California, it’s not surprising that I suggested we drive to it.  But, of course, to drive to California is no small feat.  We decided to expand that trip into a longer vacation to see Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  As usual, Mike did an excellent job charting out our trip.  (Honestly, if he didn’t love his job so much I’d encourage him to be a travel guide of some sort – building awesome trips for people!  He’s got serious talent!)

One of the things I love most about road trips is listening to audiobooks with the boys.  It’s an added bonus when Mike listens, too.  Thankfully, this is something the boys love, too.  In fact, every time we hopped in the car the request was made, “can we start our book now?” even throughout the trip when we would just have a 5 minute drive somewhere, they always asked. =)  I’ll include the list of books we finished when I get to the end of the trip posts – stay tuned.

Mike worked for part of the trip, mostly on the longer driving days, which worked out well because then I drive and we listen to audiobooks while he uses noise-cancelling headphones and works away…and occasionally takes a little nap.  I gave Ethan my phone to snap a couple of pictures on the road, but mostly he used his own camera to take pictures of the changing landscape.

We often make a stop at Subway along the way.  This always makes me think of my Grandpa.  We did a lot of traveling with my grandparents growing up and I was always on the lookout for Subway because it was my favorite restaurant as a kid. =)  He would joke that if there was a Subway on our route, I would surely spot it for us!

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We stayed the night in Las Vegas (that was my first…and maybe last??…time there – way too hot and way too *insert big eyes here*! I did see a Barry Manilow billboard which made me laugh right out thinking about Jennie’s a-mazing impressions of him) before finishing the drive to the LA area for the reunion.  We stopped at one of our favorite places for breakfast/lunch on the drive and then we were ready for some family time!

Next up: Cleveland family reunion!

Friends in Town

Our dear friends from Georgia took an RV trip across the country and we were bound and determined to see them!  We were supposed to join them camping, but we had to bail on that plan when Ethan got the staples in his head.  So, instead, we drove to the Fort Collins area for an afternoon (after the staples were removed) to spend time with them.  Both Ethan and C were apparently “nervous” about seeing each other again, but they hit it off like usual.  It was so sweet to see!!

The boys hadn’t seen each other, I don’t think…since we moved back in January of 2016.  I see Katie every time I go to Atlanta to help my sister at the trade shows.

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Also, nice to see that the big boys are still a lot alike even after a few years…

We’re big fans of this family!

Micah and Mom Weekend

Micah and I had the opportunity to spend a whole weekend together and let me tell you, he had some plans for us!  We decided to make a list of the things we’d like to do one the weekend while the other guys were camping with a church group.  We crossed everything off our list by the end of the weekend!

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There is one draw back to making a list with my guy.  He didn’t want to do anything unless it was written on the list, so we really had to tread carefully all weekend to be sure we were only doing things listed.  And, after something was off the list, but we still had time to spare, we were in a bit of a predicament.

Here are some pictures from our weekend around the house:

And here are a few from our 4 mile bike ride.   The bike ride was quite exciting and I know some of you have already heard about it.  Let’s suffice it to say that he had a few falls (always jumping right back up again) and one of them ended poorly with a very, very flat tire.

Loved spending time with this guy for our weekend solo!  We were both glad to have the other guys back again, but I sure enjoy Micah’s company!